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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Research Assistant I in Boston, Massachusetts

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Research Assistant I

Department Description:Laboratory work will involve processing of blood specimens from human clinical vaccine and therapeutic trials and the evaluation of immune responses elicited by novel vaccine and therapeutic strategies against COVID-19, HIV-1, and other emerging pathogens.

Responsibilities will include using proper tissue culture techniques and following Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) protocols for isolating PBMCs, serum, plasma, mucosal, and other clinical specimens. Research activities will involve performing a variety of tissue culture-based immune assays, primarily focused on measuring antibody responses against COVID-19, HIV-1, and other emerging pathogens. All laboratory work will be performed using protocols and techniques supporting the principles of Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP).

• Conducts routine tests following established SOP protocols, which may include, but are not limited to the following procedures: basic tissue culture, processing of human blood specimens, freezing of PBMCs and plasma samples, and performing in vitro immunological assays.

• Responsible for managing and updating procedures and documentation associated with clinical trial work and various research programs.

• Responsible for coordinating the shipment and transport of clinical trial specimens from clinical research sites and specimen repositories.

• Uses standard research equipment which may include, but not be limited to the following instruments: centrifuge, ultracentrifuge, Coulter Counter, luminometer, label maker, ELISA reader, Gel Doc, spectrophotometer, and PCR machine.

• Responsible for the proper documentation of all experimental procedures and results, shipping procedures, and any deviations from standard operating procedure protocols.

• Monitors specific laboratory equipment on a daily basis for GCLP documentation, and notifies the supervisor if any deviations are found.

• May write SOPs for GCLP documentation and make informal presentations of these procedures to other laboratory staff members.

• Researches and collects study data, maintains daily logs/basic records of methodologies and test results, and with close supervision, may summarize data and interpret results.

• May demonstrate routine laboratory tasks or procedures to students or other research personnel.

• Maintains own supplies and may be responsible for ordering supplies for the lab.

• Attends hospital lectures regarding all hospital safety requirements/conditions.

• Attends courses, lectures, lab meetings, and conferences to further own knowledge of research.

• Due to the dynamic environment in which research exists, must show flexibility in performing principle duties and responsibilities as research projects evolve.

Other pertinent, related duties required for specific lab/research:

• Responsibilities will include walking to nearby clinical research sites to obtain human clinical specimens (e.g., blood, plasma, etc.) for processing in the laboratory.

• Responsible for obtaining/maintaining Dangerous Good Shipping certification.

• Duties necessitate broad knowledge of scientific principles and laboratory techniques typically acquired through a bachelor’s degree in biology or related life/natural sciences.

• Work schedules may include overtime, weekend, or flexible hours as needed to complete/perform experiments according to research requirements.

• Must be able to work in a fast-paced environment with demonstrated ability to juggle and prioritize multiple competing tasks and demands and to seek supervisory assistance as appropriate.

• This job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee occupying this position. Employees will be required to follow any other job-related instructions to perform any other job-related duties requested by their supervisor.

Job Location:Boston, MA

Req ID:36772BR

Job Summary:Under supervision of the principal investigator, conducts a variety of routine experiments using molecular, cell biology and/or biochemistry techniques. Records test results, calculates, transcribes, and analyzes data using basic statistics.

Department Specific Job Responsibilities:

  • Processes human blood and serum samples using tissue culture and other laboratory techniques defined by the principles of Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) standard operating procedures (SOPs). These human samples are obtained from phase I/II clinical trials testing candidate HIV-1 vaccines.

  • Performs in vitro tissue culture-based immune assays to study antibody-mediated immunity to HIV-1 in humans.

  • Maintains and updates procedures and regulatory documentation associated with clinical trial work and other various research programs.

  • Coordinates the shipment, pickup and tracking of clinical trials specimens from the laboratory's affiliated clinical sites.

  • Obtains and maintains Dangerous Goods Shipping certification and other certifications related to GCLP and Human Subjects Research Education.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Conducts routine tests following established procedures, which may include assays, DNA sequencing, tissue culture, protein purification, Southern blotting, PCR analysis, electrophoresis, chromatography.

  • Researches and collects basic study data through monitoring devices and maintains daily logs/basic records of methodologies and test results. With supervision, using databases, may summarize data and interpret results using descriptive statistics and basic hypothesis testing.

  • May write standard operating procedures for documentation and make informal presentations of these procedures to others in the lab.

  • Performs literature searches and library investigations as they relate to the research and/or as assigned.

  • Due to the dynamic environment in which research exists, must show flexibility in performing principal duties and responsibilities as research projects evolve.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Life Science or a related scientific field required.

  • 0-1 years related work experience required.

  • Familiarity with basic laboratory instruments and equipment, computers (databases, spreadsheets, statistics) and scientific procedures.

  • Basic familiarity with computers. Ability to navigate at a basic level within web-based applications.


  • Decision Making:Ability to make decisions that are based on specific instructions, standard practices and established procedures which generally require little or no supervision.

  • Problem Solving:Ability to address problems that are routine, somewhat repetitive and generally solved by following clear directions and procedures and by identifying opportunities for process improvements.

  • Independence of Action:Ability to follow general instructions and procedures as provided. Work is monitored by supervisor/manager.

  • Written Communications:Ability to read, and write in English in order to understand basic safety instructions and take direction from supervisors; communicate effectively with patients, families and other medical center staff; and respond to basic questions.

  • Oral Communications:Ability to understand spoken English in order to follow basic safety instructions and take direction from supervisors; communicate effectively in basic English with patients, families and medical center staff in response to routine questions.

  • Knowledge:Ability to demonstrate basic knowledge of fundamental concepts, practices and procedures with the ability to use them in routine situations. Specialized knowledge not required.

  • Team Work:Ability to interact respectfully with other employees, professional staff and/or external contacts to offer ideas, identify issues, obtain information or deliver services.

  • Customer Service:Ability to demonstrate a positive attitude and respond to requests in a timely and respectful manner.

Physical Nature of the Job:

Light work: Exerting up to 20 pounds of force frequently to move objects. Some elements of the job are sedentary, but the employee will be required to stand for periods of time or move through out the hospital campus.